Empyre is here, and with it comes tie-in stories which are where Fantastic Four #21 comes into play. Empyre #1 was a pretty darn good opening salvo and yet it bugged me how much time was spent with Val and Franklin. This issue explains why so as to spin their adventures off on their own and form a new Fantastic Four. Gear up for Spidey, Wolverine, and more surprises galore.
If you were skeptical of the Kree and Skrull making peace, this is the issue for you. It opens on an impressive scene involving a Celestial as well as moments with each race of aliens speaking true to their hearts. It’s an interesting way to show how their cultures are now one and things are moving on. This further explains how the child Kree and Skrull in the care of the Fantastic Four are the embodiment of the hate between species that lasted for millennia.
The plotting of this issue meanders a bit, but for the most part, it’s good superhero storytelling. We get moments with Spidey, Wolverine, and key scenes with Val and Franklin that should placate fans. A secret organization starts to rear its head too which seems to be a big part of the Empyre event and will shed light on the invasion. Writer Dan Slott weaves in Alicia Masters in an organic way, too, and it appears she may play the part of parent that is of sound mind to the kiddos.
The art in this book is by Paco Medina with Sean Izaakse (with colors by Marcio Menyz and Erick Arciniega) and I had a hard time telling who drew what in the book. There is a single page in this book Spider-Man fans should get a lot of laughs out of — no surprise, Slott writes a great Spidey — but the showstopper is the opening pages focusing on the Kree and Skrull. You feel the humanity in these characters and there’s a humbling growth on the page. If you’ve read Empyre you’ll feel for them, even more, thanks to how they’re rendered.
This is a good issue to kick off an adventure with Val and Franklin while their family dives into the Empyre war. Fans should get a kick out of Spider-Man and Wolverine in the story and there is some solid dialogue throughout.